Less than one year after the contract was awarded, Light Projects’ illumination and color design for Louisville’s 2nd Street Bridge and Streetscape opened to celebrants on October 13, 2010. Officially named 2nd Street Transportation Project, the landscape architect was Carman and engineers HDR. Our client was Louisville’s Downtown Development Corporation (DDC). DDC and Carman navigated complex approval processes which included federal government agencies, State and City Department of Transportation, and the local Waterfront Development Corporation, among others. The project was funded by the ARRA stimulus program; which called for a fast track and economical design concept and solution.
The streetscape area was a service road combined with adjacent vacant land running along side the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge. The cantilevered truss bridge, locally known as 2nd Street bridge, crosses the Ohio River between Kentucky and Indiana. The bridge is in the National Register of Historic Places.
Cross streets Washington and Witherspoon join 2nd Street. A row of wooden buildings on Washington present their old timey “Whiskey Row” back doors to the street. The buildings of Iron Quarter on Washington are being renovated into hotels, restaurants and bars. When Light Projects arrived a generally disheveled, chipped and neglected sensibility pervaded.
We visited the site and participated in a design charrette in November 2009.The stakeholder workshop set the tone and direction for the design. Bright and welcoming were the keywords for lighting.
Mock-ups were held as the bridge was being painted
Now, the underside of the bridge is enhanced with a floating effect of cast light; outlining and illuminating the I-beam surfaces and textures. The duo-tone color scheme — red and gold — is balanced with the cream color of paint coating. The colors — bridge as canvas and the lighting — are based on a celebration of amber liquid bourbon and colors of sunset.
In-progress photographs during the last night of programming
Light Projects selected energy-saving fluorescent tubes for the bridge lighting – simple, industrial lighting fixtures with a twist; the luminaires were filtered with colored glass and controlled by Digital Addressable Lighting Interface (DALI). DALI is an electronic network protocol that is generally used for lighting in buildings. We adapted it for our exterior use and complex lighting sequences.
Another technological innovation is a series of flasher beacons mounted on the face of the bridge. Whimsical sequences mark sunset and each hour afterward until 2:00 AM on weekends, and midnight during the week. These flashers are famous for lighting up the Eiffel Tower in Paris.